Discussion: In order to determine the identity of the chiropractic profession two separate approaches are made: first, the question is examined philosophically; the profession is defined by determining its essence - what it is, what it is not, and what it is for. Second, the question is examined pragmatically, by determining chiropractic’s role in people’s lives; how it is defined by the public and what chiropractic practitioners actually do.
Conclusions: Philosophically, chiropractic’s essence, boundaries, and purpose are oriented by the spine; practically speaking, the spine is where doctors of chiropractic apply the vast majority of their work. The author suggests that embracing the spine as the center of chiropractic identity does not limit the profession but, rather gives the public and the profession a common referent to define chiropractic’s function and value.
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